Murphy Quietly Rises (Jeff Hankins Publisher's Note)

by Jeff Hankins  on Monday, Jun. 15, 2009 12:00 am  

Poring through Fortune magazine's latest compilation of the 500 largest companies, I came across multiple impressive references to Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado.

In 2008, Murphy Oil became Arkansas' third Fortune 100 company, ranked No. 92 and up from No. 134 thanks to a 49 percent increase in revenue. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville ranks No. 2 (surpassed by Exxon Mobil), and Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale ranks No. 89.

Record oil prices last year provided the revenue surge for Murphy, and it will be tough for the company to sustain its lofty ranking. But what's more impressive are Murphy Oil's statistics among the fastest-growing Fortune 500 companies.

Murphy Oil ranks 15th in revenue growth for the past year, 13th for the past five years with annualized growth of 39 percent and then sixth for the past decade with annualized growth of 32 percent. On the profit side, the company ranked 10th in the country during the past year with a 126 percent jump.

This is a company that doesn't employ a particularly large number of people in Arkansas but has 8,300 employees worldwide. Its financial impact on the state - particularly south Arkansas - is substantial not only as a strong employer and corporate citizen, but also in generating wealth and tax revenue for the state.

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Are you nervous yet about President Barack Obama's accelerated push for health care reform? You should be.

Businesses of all sizes will be required to provide health insurance for every employee, and the government may have its own health insurance plan to compete with the private sector. As I write this, some encouraging news is coming out that a compromise on the latter issue may be the development of health care cooperatives, which would be not-for-profit in nature and not run by the government.

The health care industry is very nervous, particularly when you consider Obama wants radical change in the system to be implemented quickly. The thought of government, in a matter of months, overhauling a business sector that makes up 17 percent of gross domestic product is downright frightening.

Hospital executives, physicians, health insurance executives and health care-related government agencies have to brace for a new system that is certain to wreak havoc but not so certain to be a better system. And based on where Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress appear to be headed with his plan, businesses and the wealthiest Americans will pay for it while having little input and no assurances of improvement.

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The Arkansas media obsessed over the pay of the first executive director of the new state lottery. We all have it memorized by now: $324,000.



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